E. Ethelbert Miller

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E. Ethelbert Miller
at the 2013 Fall for the Book
at the 2013 Fall for the Book
BornEugene Ethelbert Miller
(1950-11-20) November 20, 1950 (age 70)
Bronx, New York
Alma materHoward University
GenrePoetry; memoir

Eugene Ethelbert Miller, best known as E. Ethelbert Miller (born November 20, 1950), is an African-American poet, teacher and literary activist, based in Washington, DC.[1][2] He is the author of several collections of poetry and two memoirs, the editor of Poet Lore magazine, and the host of the weekly WPFW morning radio show On the Margin.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Miller was born in the Bronx, New York.[4] He received his B.A. from Howard University.[5] He is the author of 12 books of poetry, two memoirs and is the editor of three poetry anthologies. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Poet Lore, and Sojourners.

Miller was the founder and director of the Ascension Poetry Reading Series, one of the oldest literary series in the Washington area. He was director of Howard University's African-American Resource Center from 1974 for more than 40 years.[6][7] Miller has taught at various schools, including American University, Emory & Henry College, George Mason University, Harpeth Hall School and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was also a core faculty member of the writing seminars at Bennington College. He worked with Operation Homecoming for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).[8]

A sign on the north entrance to the Dupont Circle Metro station in Washington, D.C. An excerpt from "The Wound-Dresser", by Walt Whitman, is inscribed into the granite wall around the entrance escalators. An excerpt from "We Embrace", by E. Ethelbert Miller, is inscribed into the sidewalk surrounding a nearby circular bench.

He currently serves as board chairperson of the Institute for Policy Studies.[9][10] He is also on the boards of Split This Rock and the Writer's Center, and since 2002 has been co-editor of Poet Lore magazine, the oldest poetry journal in the US.[11] He is former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C., and has served on the boards of the AWP, the Edmund Burke School, PEN American Center, PEN/Faulkner Foundation, and the Washington Area Lawyer for the Arts (WALA). He hosts a weekly morning radio show on WPFW called On the Margin.[1]

In 1979, Marion Barry, the Mayor of Washington, D.C., where Miller lives, proclaimed September 28, 1979, as "E. Ethelbert Miller Day."[12] Subsequently, on May 21, 2001, an “E. Ethelbert Miller Day” was also proclaimed by the Mayor of Jackson, Tennessee.[13]

Miller's papers are held at Emory & Henry College and The George Washington University.[10][14]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1979: September 28 proclaimed as "E. Ethelbert Miller Day" by the Mayor of Washington, D.C.[10]
  • 1982: Mayor's Art Award for Literature
  • 1988: Received the Public Humanities Award from the D.C. Humanities Council[15]
  • 1993: Columbia Merit Award[16]
  • 1994: Made an Honorary Citizen of the city of Baltimore on July 17 by the Mayor of Baltimore[17]
  • 1994: PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award (for In Search of Color Everywhere)
  • 1995: O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize
  • 1996: Honorary doctorate of literature awarded on May 18 by Emory & Henry College[13]
  • 1997: Stephen Henderson Poetry Award from the African American Literature and Culture Society[9]
  • 2001: May 21 declared as "E. Ethelbert Miller Day" by the Mayor of Jackson, Tennessee[10][13]
  • 2003: Fathering Words selected by DC WE READ for the one book, one city program sponsored by the D.C. Public Libraries[15]
  • 2004: Fulbright Scholarship recipient[9]
  • April 2015: Inducted into the Washington, DC Hall of Fame[18]
  • 2016: AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor[19]






  1. ^ a b Hayley Garrison Phillips, "Local Legend E. Ethelbert Miller Isn’t Going Anywhere", Washingtonian, February 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Elizabeth Lund, "Poetry that explores love and aggression, baseball and the natural world", Washington Post, March 9, 2018.
  3. ^ Grace Cavalieri, "Featured Poet E. Ethelbert Miller", 40th Anniversary "The Poet and the Poem".
  4. ^ "E. Ethelbert Miller", Poetry Foundation.
  5. ^ "Honorary Board". The Writer's Center. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  6. ^ Department of Afro-American Studies, Howard University.
  7. ^ Courtland Milloy, "Outpouring of support for poet who says he was let go from Howard", Washington Post, May 5, 2015.
  8. ^ "E. Ethelbert Miller", Operation Homecoming, National Initiatives, National Endowment for the Arts, October 17, 2004. Archived from the original on August 23, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Krane, Scott (2019-04-26). "E. Ethelbert Miller: Jazz in Poetry". Jazz Times.
  10. ^ a b c d E. Ethelbert Miller Finding Aid, Special Collections Research Center, Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University.
  11. ^ "Our Story", Poet Lore.
  12. ^ "E. Ethelbert Miller's Biography". The HistoryMakers. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  13. ^ a b c "About E. Ethelbert Miller | Academy of American Poets". Academy of American Poets. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  14. ^ "Emory & Henry College Special Collections & Archives". Archived from the original on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  15. ^ a b "Biography", E. Ethelbert Miller website.
  16. ^ "E. Ethelbert Miller, Eugene Ethelbert Miller". The Black Names Project. 2019-04-26. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  17. ^ "Award-Winning Writer E. Ethelbert Miller Speaks at MC on October 22". Montgomery College. 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  18. ^ E. Ethelbert Miller biography at Willow Books.
  19. ^ "E. Ethelbert Miller", Beltway Poetry Quarterly.

External links[edit]